Imagine being voted king of a nation that you’ve never even been to!
Jean Bernadotte was born in France, serving a long career in the French Army.
He acquired speedy promotions through the ranks and he displayed great ability during his term as Minister of War.
At the time, Kings Charles XIII of Sweden was in failing health, was childless and the issue of his successor was becoming very apparent.
In a very strange turn of events, Bernadotte was elected to succeed King Charles. A large part of the Swedish Army were in favour of electing a soldier to rule and Bernadotte was very popular as he had shown kindness to the Swedish prisoners during a recent war with Denmark.
Bernadotte was adopted by King Charles XIII under the name of Charles John. Many responsibilities we bestowed upon him and his main goal was the acquisition of Norway.
However, the Norwegians were unwilling to accept Swedish ownership and they declared independence.
Even though Sweden won the ensuing war under Charles John’s leadership, he accepted the Norwegian constitution which paved the way for Norway to enter a union with Sweden.